Vishwaroopam: Terror gratuity?

The Tamil Nadu government has pre-emptively banned the film Vishwaroopam, biggest project of Kamal Hasan because of objections from some Islamic groups. Insiders provide insights into the new technique of vested interests in demanding gratuity through terror tactics exploitinng religious sentiments.

The makers of the film has arranged a special screening to the objecting Islamic group members and had explained the context and the content of the movie. Vishwaroopam is terrorism based thriller movie. It deals with the general perception about Muslims being fanatic, and would try to explore as to who is the root cause for global terrorism. It seems that he is set to condemn the way US and other countries behave. But, Islamic organisations including the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK) started protesting the release of the movie claiming hurt religious sentiments. TMMK leader Jawahirullah claimed, “There is a danger that the public may view any Muslim with a beard as a terrorist waiting for an opportunity to plant a bomb.” Even while the film makers and Kamal himself trying to negotiate with the protestors, a representative of one such group is on record, saying: “We intend to register our apprehensions that release of the film with even deleted scenes or changes will affect the social harmony and all-round peace in the state.”

It is interesting to note that Vishwaroopam has been cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) long back. One director Anubhav Sinha asks, not unreasonably, on his social media feeds: “Is the TN Govt saying that they do not recognize CBFC? Or they can’t handle law and order? Or they subscribe to the objection? When a Government needs to ride on a movie star you should know how intellectually and politically bankrupt they are.” Anurag Kashyap adds: “How can anyone decide what the film is about without seeing it? And how can the government pander to such groups?”

Kamal Hasan is appalled at how his film is construed to be against Muslim contrary to the actual content and message of the movie. Kamal in his real life was always a sympathizer of Muslims and is a part of an organization called Harmony India, which worked for Hindu Muslim unity. In his letter released through media to the public he says “I have been ruthlessly used as a vehicle by small groups who seek political profile. Icon bashing is a great way to be noticed when you are not one yourself. It is happening again and again. Any neutral and patriotic Muslim will surely feel pride on seeing my film. It was designed for that purpose. Now I will rely on law and logic to come to our support. This kind of cultural terrorism will have to stop. I thank those who rose to the occasion and to my support on the Internet.” He is also said  “My film is neither about terrorism nor Islam. It won’t even hurt any community for that matter. The story traverses through the adversities of war, and, therefore it may appear as though it’s about terrorism, but it’s not,”

The real story being behind the ban points to the money making mentality of vested interests expoiting religion. Not so long ago, Thuppakki directed by AR Murugadoss and starring Vijay, was targeted by the selfsame groups. The producers met the groups and quietly reached a settlement. Rs 25 lakh changed hands, the objections vanished faster than you could say ‘cultural terrorism bribe’, the film released, and the producers laughed their way to all the banks in the land.

Perhaps, to deal with these kind of controversies, gratuities are the only practical way forward. Ultimately in the Vishwaroopam imbroglio, the public are the losers. Advance bookings had opened and in most places tickets had sold out for the weekend in less than 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the man in the eye of the storm, Kamal, has moved the Madras High Court. Director Shekhar Kapur, who essays a pivotal role in the film reports on Twitter: “Just checked Hotel Bel Air in LA. Just met Kamal Hassan looking calm n strong despite d storm around Vishwaroopam.”

Storyline of the movie: Vishwanath alias Wiz, a Kathak exponent, and Nirupama, get married. Each have an agenda and seem to have achieved their wishes in three years of matrimony. Nirupama gets her Ph.D and Wiz runs his dance class in New Jersey unhindered by each other. All is fine till Dr. Nirupama aspires for more and wants to opt out of the arranged marriage. She cannot cite any specific reason to leave Wiz as there is nothing much to complain about him. Every male according to Nirupama must have a flaw. So she decides to find out something about him to feel better about her decision to part. She hires a detective to rake up something on him. Wires get cross-connected and all hell breaks loose.


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